Ioka Valley Farm was established in 1936 when Robert and Dorothy Leab settled their herd of cattle onto the property they named Ioka Valley from an Indian word meaning “beautiful.”L In 1966 their son, Donald, took over the farm with his wife, Judy. Don and Judy’s son Robert and his wife, Melissa, represent the third generation of Leabs to work on the farm, which is located just around the corner from Jiminy Peak Ski Resort. Although Ioka Valley Farm is a working farm, the Leab family is dedicated to providing year-round enjoyment for all ages. In Fall, there are pumpkins to pick, a corn maze and other harvest-time activities; and in winter, there are Christmas trees, holiday decorations and visits from Santa. There is a barnyard full of farm animals to meet and pet during the warm weather months; and a pick-your-own strawberry patch in season. These are just some of the many ways to enjoy an outing at Ioka Valley Farm.
But at Ioka Valley Farm, March is Maple Month! Rob and his wife, Melissa, revived the art of maple sugaring in 1992 with 13 taps and mom’s kitchen stove. Today, Ioka Valley Farm has more than 9500 taps and two modern boilers housed in the sugar house, built especially for production of this naturally sweet treat. In the spring of 1997, they converted the farm’s calf barn into the “Calf-A,” serving delicious pancake meals with their own maple syrup during the sugaring season.
Ioka Valley Farm is also home to natural, hormone free beef, available for purchase at Wild Oats Market. Ioka Valley Farm quality, natural beef is pasture raised, spring through fall months, supplemented with ground corn, raised on the farm, for extra energy. During the winter months the animals are housed in a loose housing, free stall environment with free choice hay, and ground corn all grown at Ioka Valley Farm. The Leab family is proud of their high-quality, natural, hormone free beef, and Wild Oats Market is delighted to be a long-time distributor of this high-quality, local beef.
Ioka Valley Farm will be sampling its delicious maple syrup at Wild Oats Market’s Member-Owner Appreciation Day on March 13, 2014. During the month of March, all Ioka Valley Farm bottled maple syrup is on sale at 10% off.
Plan to join us for a maple sugaring tour to Ioka on Saturday, March 15, at 10:30 am. We will meet at 10:30 at the Ioka Sugar House. Ms. Terri will sample the different grades of syrup and we take a tour of the boiler room and the vats where the sap is stored before it is boiled. The tour will take approximately 1/2 hour, and all participants will receive a coupon for 40% off breakfast in the Ioka “Calf-A”, good for that day or the following day (Sunday March 16). Participants will also receive a Wild Oats coupon, good for $2 off any locally produced product that is sold at the co-op — including, of course, Ioka Valley Farm 100% pure maple syrup.
The Ioka Valley Farm Calf-A
Enjoy Ioka’s fresh maple syrup on a stack of homemade buttermilk or blueberry pancakes with an order of homemade applesauce or mini corn muffins topped with scrumptious maple butter. Or try “Uncle Don’s Favorite” meal – two waffles topped with ice cream, homemade strawberry sauce, and whipped cream; bacon or sausage; homemade applesauce; and corn muffins with maple butter. A great way to start the day before you head to the slopes for some spring skiing.
Curious about the maple sugaring process? Watch this video about maple sugaring in the berkshires by Michele Ridgeway.
March is Maple Month Try: